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CNHS - Province House - Halifax, NS
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 38.877 W 063° 34.409
20T E 454524 N 4944003
Quick Description: Built in the early nineteenth century, Nova Scotia's Legislature Building has existed sufficiently long to have become the oldest Legislative Building in Canada.
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Posted: 2/15/2016 4:42:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMQECZ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Jake39
Views: 6

Long Description:
Designed by architect John Merrick, Province House has been described as “the best example of Palladian architecture to be found in Canada.” Merrick, himself a native of Halifax, was, prior to the construction of Province House, perhaps better known in Halifax as a glazier and painter. Actually it is still a matter of debate as to whether it was really Merrick who drew the plans or whether the design was the work of architect Richard Scott. Province House is the only building ever credited to Merrick and the cornerstone of the building credits its design to Scott.

The longest serving Legislative Building in Canada, Province House has been witness to both the birth of the Dominion of Canada and Nova Scotia's becoming a province in the country, as well as a great many other historic events of the past two centuries. The first session of the legislature was held in the building in 1819, the year previous to its completion.

Today a major tourist attraction in Halifax, Nova Scotia Tourism describes Province House thus:

This National Historic Site (c 1819) is the seat of the Nova Scotia Government, Canada’s oldest provincial legislative assembly, and the original home of Britain’s first overseas self-government. Writer Charles Dickens called Province House “a gem of Georgian architecture” and described the 1842 opening of the legislature as “like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of the telescope”.

Province House is an architectural monument and the settling for significant events in Canadian political life. Begun in 1811 and opened in 1819 as the seat of government for Nova Scotia, it is one of the finest Palladian-style buildings in Canada. Its symmetrical composition, harmonious proportions and refined interior detailing are distinguishing features of the classical architecture of Georgian England. Before Confederation, epic orations within these walls contributed to the achievement of freedom of the press and responsible government, cornerstones of democracy in this country.

From the CNHS Plaque

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Province House

Province House National Historic Site of Canada is a grand, three-story sandstone public building located on an enclose landscape ground containing a garden and monuments, within the historic heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Built from 1811 to 1819, as the seat of government for Nova Scotia, it is one of the finest Palladian-style buildings in Canada. Its symmetrical composition, harmonious proportions and refined interior detailing are distinguishing features of the classical architecture of Georgian England. The building continues to serve as the legislative seat for the Province of Nova Scotia. Official recognition refers to the legal property boundary at the time of designation.

Province House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1993 because:
- it is one of the best examples of the Palladian style in Canada;
- it is the longest serving legislative building in Canada;
- it was the scene of constitutional and legal debates which led to the establishment of two fundamental principles of Canadian democracy - freedom of the press and responsible government.

As Canada’s oldest legislative seat, Province House has witnessed important political and legal debates, including newspaper editor Joseph Howe’s defence against charges of libel, which led to the creation of the freedom of the press, and the winning of responsible government. Designed by architect John Merrick much of the detailed interpretation of the Palladian-inspired plans was realized by master builder Richard Scott. A stone Royal coat of arms carved by David Kinnear was placed above the main entry in 1819. Architect Henry F. Busch remodelled the original Supreme Court chambers to house the Legislative Library in 1861-1862, and additional interior rehabilitation was carried out by Edward Elliott in 1886-1888.

Province House is a sophisticated example of the Palladian compositional formula adapted for early 19th-century public buildings. Its rectangular block with projecting pedimented frontispiece and side wings, the tri-partite division of its storeys and the use of Roman Ionic order to emphasize the importance of the main floor are organized into a symmetrical composition of classical scale and proportion. Palladian concepts of order extend to the interior spatial organization and to the restrained and harmonious decorative program, culminating in the exquisite plasterwork of the principal storey.

- its location in the historic heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia;
- its siting in the middle of a city block with its long elevations facing and set back from major streets;
- its three-storey pavilion massing set under a truncated hip roof with a projecting pedimented frontispiece;
- its sandstone veneer on rubble and brick construction;
- its principal Hollis street façade featuring the Royal coat of arms in the tympanum of the central pediment;
- the symmetrical design with similar east-west façades comprised of rusticated stone ground storeys and ashlar upper storeys of reduced proportions, articulated by regularly spaced fenestration and projecting central and end pavilions under gable roofs;
- the giant Ionic columns defining the central pavilion on each east and west façades;
- the identical north and south façades with their central bays defined by giant Ionic pilasters with Venetian windows beneath a pediment;
- the classically inspired detailing, including niches, dentil work, blind windows, and classical orders;
- the wooden, multi-pane, double hung, sash windows with their interior shutters;
- the balanced, hierarchical interior layout with its ordered progression of spaces;
- the classical articulation of the major interior spaces, notably the lobby, central staircase, and the legislative chambers with their Palladian double-cube spatial definition;
- the classically inspired interior decoration, including Adamesque plasterwork, ornamental ironwork, decorative mantels and wood trim;
- the open landscaping, with a monument to Joseph Howe, a memorial to the South African War, and 19th –century gardens, all enclosed by iron fencing;
-the continuity of its function as Province House of Nova Scotia.
From Historic Places Canada

Classification: National Historic Site

Province or Territory: Nova Scotia

Location - City name/Town name: Halifax

Link to Parks Canada entry (must be on [Web Link]

Link to [Web Link]

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